Conservatives still ignoring Francophone Ontarians



    OTTAWA, Aug. 20 /CNW/ - As John Tory visits Ottawa today, it's clear that
the Conservative party he leads is the same one that ignored the needs of the
Francophone community when they were in power for eight years.
    The truth is that the party hasn't changed its attitude: both the party
website (www.ontariopc.com) and the Conservative campaign website
(www.leadershipmatters.com) are completely unilingual.
    In fact, the Conservative party has even stopped paying lip service to
Francophone issues: On August 10 in Le Droit, when asked about the unilingual
website, a party spokesperson said that Conservatives take Francophone issues
seriously, but will not commit to having a fully bilingual website.
    "This just goes to show that the Conservatives still take
Francophone-Ontarians for granted," said Ottawa Vanier MPP Madeleine Meilleur.
"It's bad enough that they're on the wrong side of the issues that
Francophones - like all other Ontarians care about: health care, education,
and the environment. But now they're showing that they haven't even given a
thought to the half-million Francophones that live in this province."

    
    When Ontario had a Conservative government:
    -   They tried to close Hôpital Montfort, the province's only French
        language teaching hospital;
    -   They also cut the budget of the Office of Francophone Affairs by 50%.

    On the other hand, since coming to office four years ago, Ontario 
Liberals have:
    -   Begun to expand Hôpital Montfort. The expansion includes building two
        new wings and renovating existing facilities, including intensive
        care, maternal/newborn, mental health, ambulatory care and emergency
        services. The redeveloped facility will have a capacity of 417 beds,
        and will double the size of the hospital to 750,000 square feet.
    -   Appointed Ontario's first ever French Language Services Commissioner;
    -   Designated three municipalities and thirteen agencies under the
        French Language Services Act;
    -   Invested $317 million additional dollars in French-language schools,
        bringing the total to over $1 billion annually;
    -   Granted independence to TFO - it now has its own budget and its own
        Board of Directors; and,
    -   Increased funding to the Office of Francophone Affairs.
    

    As well, the Ontario Liberal Party website (www.ontarioliberal.ca) is the
only one of the three major parties' websites that is fully bilingual.
    "The Ontario Liberals are the only party that understands and encourages
the role the Francophone community plays in our shared success," said
Meilleur.





For further information:

For further information: Marc Despatie, 1-800-268-7250, ext 327


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